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Tactics from Move One!


  • How to Spot the "Invisible" Pin

    Pins are very popular and powerful chess weapons, and I am sure you've used them in dozens of your own games. If you just started playing chess and never heard about pins, I strongly recommend you check the Tactics Trainer. But even if you are... | Read More

  • The Cab Driver Who Knew How to Play Chess

    In the beginning of 1980s, a young and promising British international master (let's call him Nigel) played a chess tournament in the Soviet Union. At that point, a tournament in the USSR was the best possible chess school for any chess player, an... | Read More

  • Hikaru Nakamura: Rise of the Machines, the Conclusion

    In the first part of this article, we left our Chess Terminator playing countless blitz and bullet games during the last free day of the championship. In the following seventh round, Nakamura had a very tough opponent. By the way, this is a good... | Read More

  • Hikaru Nakamura: Rise Of The Machines!

    In one of my previous articles, I compared Mikhail Tal to a chess version of the Terminator. To be fair, except for his ultra aggressive playing style, the always-friendly Mikhail Tal looked like anything but this terrifying creature played b... | Read More

  • You Won't Believe This Simple Trap Even GMs Miss

    There are many different traps in chess. Some of them are so well known that you can hardly use these tricks even against relatively weak players. However, some traps are good enough to catch even grandmasters.  Sometimes, the world's leadi... | Read More

  • How to Become a Tactical Wizard

    There is no need to explain the importance of tactics for a tournament player. I bet you've all heard the cliche "chess is 99% tactics," or an anecdote about a grandmaster who was a famous endgame specialist. (Was it Smyslov? I don't remember.) ... | Read More

  • The Universal Opening Trap

    The majority of chess players like opening traps. I believe the main appeal of setting a trap is not the chance to win the game instantly.  What really makes an opening trap attractive for chess players of all levels is the thrill of a hunt... | Read More

  • The Chess Terminator: Hasta la Vista, Baby!

    The game from round 17 of the Soviet Championship 1957 was more proof that Tal was getting back to his great form. Even though it was just a draw, this game was one of Tal's favorites. In his book, Tal wrote that he always loved the b... | Read More

  • The Chess Terminator's Ultimate Solution

    If the title of this article sounds like the action movie "The Bourne Ultimatum," it is pure coincidence, since here we are talking about Mikhail "Chess Terminator" Tal and his first win in the national championship. As you probably remember, af... | Read More

  • The Chess Terminator, Part Two

    Last week, we left our amicable chess terminator at a position where his opponent set a devilish trap for him. Many of you, my dear readers, correctly found the refutation of the trap. In his book, Tal wrote that White's move (25.Rd2) made him ver... | Read More

  • The Chess Terminator

    This year we celebrate the 30th anniversary of one of the most influential movies of all time: The Terminator! Is there any person on Earth who hasn't said "I'll be back," imitating the great Arnold?  Even though The Terminator is just a sc... | Read More

  • The Bill Gates Variation

    How many of you could get a winning position against Magnus Carlsen after just eight moves of play? How many chess players in the world could do it? I know one of them, and his name is Bill Gates! Image: NRK/YouTube Not only did he achiev... | Read More

  • The Velimirovic's Guide to the Modern Benoni, Part Two

    Today we'll continue learning typical ideas of the Modern Benoni using Velimirovic's games. But first, I would like to address the concern of one of our readers who, in his comments, expressed disappointment that none of Velimirovic's opponents pl... | Read More

  • The Velimirovic's Guide to the Modern Benoni

    In last week's article we discussed the chess heritage of GM Dragoljub Velimirovic. You probably noticed that all the games used for the article shared the same opening - the Sicilian Defense. This is, of course, not a coincidence s... | Read More

  • Requiem for a Romantic

    Chess is a reflection of life. Our modern lives go faster and so too do the time controls we play today. When I tell kids that I played the so-called Capablanca's time control (two hours and 30 minutes for the first 40 moves) and then the game wou... | Read More

  • The Sailor Who Beat Bobby Fischer

    In last week's article, we discussed how alcohol affects a chess player's abilities. There I mentioned the Soviet grandmaster Ratmir Dmitrievich Kholmov. I don't want the readers to have an impression that this great chess player was mostly famous... | Read More

  • Carlsen vs. Nakamura: the Clash of the Giants

    There are not many duels between elite chess players that generate as much interest as the games between the World Champion Magnus Carlsen and the U.S. number one Hikaru Nakamura. Indeed, everyone can find something of interest. What will prevail:... | Read More

  • Kasparov's Blitz Recipe

     Kasparov's My Great Predecessors series of books is a trove of invaluable information. Garry is a real King Midas of chess since whatever chess subject he touches, he turns into gold. Whether you want to improve your tactical skills, le... | Read More

  • Fischer, Tal, and the most frequently forgotten chess rule

    Let me start from the very end of this story. Sousse Interzonal 1967 will always be remembered for Fischer's withdrawal after ten rounds. At that point he had seven wins and three draws. Even though the participants were supposed to play 22 game... | Read More

  • A Chess Player's Best Friend, Part 2: Check Your Discovered Checks!

    Last week we discussed one of the most powerful chess weapons: a discovered check. Today you can hone your tactical skills by solving our big test. These puzzles have many different tactical themes, but all of the combinations are based on discove... | Read More